We are continuing a series called App of the Week, wherein we recommend the best apps to support the academic experience. Please let us know what you think, and feel free to provide suggestions for apps we should review.
While learning a new language, you can never have too many resources at your disposal. If you’ve started using an app like Duolingo to get familiar with another language’s vocabulary, you’ll be looking for ways to test your new skills in the real world. The Lingua.ly app provides an immersive language experience by allowing you to read online articles–generally recent headline news–in the language of your choice, on a topic of your choice.
While it may be helpful to have a little vocabulary knowledge of the language you’re trying to read in, the app still works well for beginners because it lets you “select” every word you don’t understand. The app then translates the word and pronounces it for you. It also remembers all the words you select, and these become your ongoing vocabulary words. You can practice these words at any time, or keep reading through articles – the app adapts the articles it shows you to what you’re learning!
Most Helpful Features:
- Completely free – and it’s also ad free.
- No set lessons, so essentially, you’re deciding what you learn by choosing specific articles to read.
- The app only suggests articles for you that are on your level (which it guesses based on your vocabulary and quizzes).
- You can learn multiple languages at a time.
- It tracks your progress with points earned and words learned.
- It encourages short intervals of learning by letting you choose how many words you want to review at a time.
- Lingua.ly began as a browser extension in Google Chrome, so if you’d like an additional dimension to your learning, add it to save vocabulary from websites and turn them into automatic flashcards.
- The app doesn’t teach you the grammar behind the sentences – it just immerses you in the language experience.
- Can have trouble with idiomatic phrases, and may translate very literally.
- Sometimes, there are no articles available for the language and topic you want at the time (example – Arabic + science articles), but I just try a different combination and find other interesting things to read.
- Only 10 languages are supported on the iOS app right now, but more will be supported soon. More languages are already supported on the web and Android versions.
Lingua.ly provides a fun, enriching language-learning experience by guiding you through current world happenings in the language of your choice. It is an excellent tool to add to your language acquisition arsenal. As always, if you try it out, feel free to let us know what you think!
The views expressed in this post are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government. No endorsement or recommendation of any specific products or services is intended or implied.
Contents contributed by Lauren D. Hall, Circulation Librarian